Barack Obama was endorsed today in an especially cogent editorial by the newspaper that is a monument to Joseph Pulitzer, who funded the prizes for excellence in American culture and established the Columbia School of Journalism.
Obama, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch declares, "is right on the issues. He was right on the war in Iraq. He is right that all Americans deserve access to health care and right in his pragmatic approach to meeting that goal. He is right on tax policy, infrastructure investment, energy policy and environmental issues. He is right on American ideals.
"He was right when he said in his remarkable speech in March in Philadelphia that 'In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world’s great religions demand: that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother’s keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister’s keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.'”
Noting that they had backed John McCain in the Republican primaries, the Post-Dispatch editors conclude that then McCain "became the incredible shrinking man. He shrank from his principled stands in favor of a humane immigration policy. He shrank from his universal condemnation of torture and his condemnation of the politics of smear.
"He even shrank from his own campaign slogan, 'Country First,' by selecting the least qualified running mate since the Swedenborgian shipbuilder Arthur Sewall ran as William Jennings Bryan’s No. 2 in 1896."
Going beyond the red herrings about Obama's character and inexperience being hawked by the McCain campaign, the editorial notes, "A presidency is defined less by what happens in the Oval Office than by what is done by the more than 3,000 men and women the president appoints to government office. Only 600 of them are subject to Senate approval. The rest serve at the pleasure of the president.
"We have little doubt that Mr. Obama’s appointees would bring a level of competence, compassion and intellectual achievement to the executive branch that hasn’t been seen since the New Frontier. He has energized a new generation of Americans who would put the concept of service back in 'public service.'”
All of this leads back to the credo of the founding father, Joseph Pulitzer, who promised that the paper "will always fight for progress and reform, never tolerate injustice or corruption, always fight demagogues of all parties, never belong to any party, always oppose privileged classes and public plunderers, never lack sympathy with the poor, always remain devoted to the public welfare, never be satisfied with merely printing news, always be drastically independent, never be afraid to attack wrong, whether by predatory plutocracy or predatory poverty."
Pulitzer would undoubtedly have approved of today's choice.